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A Short Story About Imperfection

It's time for me to finally pick up my woodland writing tablets. Andrew has made them from a black walnut tree just for me. There are two of them. They are misshapen, rough, raw, and have scars in their wood just like a tree does, just like I do. Ashley is there in the shop when I arrive. She is surrounded by beautifully created pieces of art all made of wood; cherry tables, black walnut cutting boards, oak cribbage boards, walnut coat hangers. The place is warm and inviting, it smells good.



Ashley passes me my boards and we strike up a conversation. She tells me she LOVES my boards and this fuels our connection. I tell her how I named them woodland writing tablets instead of calling them clipboards as the shop sells them. I go on to tell her how I hand pick each one for my Curative Readers to use as writing tablets to rest their books and writing pages on during our retreats. I tell her how I love their angled edges and imperfect shapes, and that I'm especially drawn to the ones with the open scars that you can see light through.


I am in love with my woodland writing tablets because of their unhidden imperfections amplifying their beauty.

Ashely listens to me in a way that makes me feel seen and comfortable, and so I share the story of a Curative Reader who came to my spring retreat after her husband had died just six weeks earlier. The board her daughter and I selected for her had an open scar right at its heart-center. This felt right and real. The scar in jus the right place where she too had wounds. Perhaps this black walnut could know what she was feeling.


I finish my story telling Ashely this is why I am in love with my woodland writing tablets because of their unhidden imperfections amplifying their beauty.


Ashely takes my story in with a breath and on the out-breath she says, "I like my people that way too."


Catherine Brooks

Literary Apothecary & Curator of Stories for Medicine

Curative Reading











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